Arachidonate and/or linoleate metabolites have been implicated in modulating cell growth, replication and cell transformations. In studies with BHK-21 cells, we found lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase inhibitors (NDGA and indomethacin, respectively) to be antiproliferative. Studies on the metabolism of arachidonic acid in BHK-21 cells have demonstrated that prostaglandin D2 is the major cyclooxygenase product, and 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (15-HETE) is the major lipoxygenase product. Addition of D2 showed a significant decrease in the BHK-21 cell number showing antiproliferative action. Addition of lipoxygenase products, on the other hand, showed differential effects in that 15-HPETE decreased the cell number while 15-HETE increased. NDGA and 15-HPETE decreased DNA, RNA and protein contents, while 15-HETE significantly increased them. 5-HPETE and 5-HETE also showed similar results but were less potent than 15-H(P)ETEs. The differential effects of 15-HPETE and 15-HETE could be due to the generation of free radicals by the hydroperoxide and mitogenic response by hydroxide.